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The Color Measurement Standard for the Graphic Arts
An Overview of ISO 13655:2009 Graphic Technology— Spectral Measurement and Colorimetric Computation for Graphic Arts Images
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Introduction—Optical Brighteners and the Challenges for Accurate Color Measurement
In response to the design community and the graphic arts industry’s demand for brighter “blue white” papers, fine paper manufacturers commonly add fluorescent dyes called optical brightening agents ( OBAs ) to commercial printing papers. These chemicals have the unique ability to absorb ultraviolet radiation and then transform and re-emit invisible U.V. wavelengths as high energy photons of light in the violet/ blue area of the visible spectrum—a phenomenon called fluorescence. Invisible U.V. wavelengths such as contained in sunlight and, to varying degrees in many artificial light sources, are therefore absorbed by optical brightening agents in fine printing papers and transformed into wavelengths of energy perceivable to human viewing; thereby becoming “visible” light radiating from the paper’s surface.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Optical brightening agents absorb invisible ultraviolet wavelengths of energy and cause that energy to be re-emitted ( fluoresce ) as perceptible light in the violet/blue portion of the visible spectrum The total amount of light reflected from paper is determined by several factors, including physical surface characteristics ( gloss, smoothness, etc.), the quantity and characteristics of the optical brighteners, and the spectral power distribution and intensity of the illuminant ( including the amount of U.V. energy radiated by the illuminant ). When illuminated by a light source that contains a significant amount of U.V. energy, the energy transference process ( from invisible to visible wavelengths ) is activated and an optical brightener enhanced paper may actually reflect more total light than it receives from the light source ( i.e., visible light reflected from the light source + re-emitted “blue” light transferred from the invisible realm of the electromagnetic spectrum ). The result is a paper that can appear very bright and has an aesthetically pleasing, slightly blue, color cast. We may think of U.V. energy as a “variable switch” that activates and controls the ( blue ) light re-emitting process of fluorescence. Therefore, it is no surprise that variability in the amount of U.V. energy radiated by a light source can cause dramatic © 2012 Sappi Fine Paper North America. All Rights Reserved.


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we can all agree that the presence of optical brightening agents in fine printing papers can also create unique challenges for printers. The resulting characterization profile can lead to print output that is tainted with a yellow cast readily visible from highlight to mid-tone. wavelengths in the specified illuminants used for viewing and measuring color.V. however. and reliable color management. Likewise. print production color control systems. Variability and unpredictability in color perception and color measurement are the nemeses of stable color control. ISO 13655:2009 defines four comprehensive color measurement models. measurement conditions.. Fine printing papers enhanced by optical brightening agents give printers the ability to produce vibrant color images in contrast with crisp bright white spaces. when performing color measurements. our visual perception quickly adapts to the additional blue wavelengths of light and we simply see “bright white. In the same year the standard for visual color assessment ( ISO 3664:2009 ) was also revised.1 When we observe a “high-bright” paper in a viewing condition where U. accurate color communication. and others who seek to accurately measure and communicate the properties of color.V. etc. prepress professionals.e.V. They will measure a U. 1 It should be noted that some inks and toners as well as many aqueous coatings also Sappi Printer Technical Service 877 SappiHelp ( 727 7443 ) contain optical brightening components.e. the spectrophotometer. 02 Version 001 .Printer Tech Tips The Color Measurement Standard for the Graphic Arts  (continued ) shifts in the visually perceived color of an image printed on a paper that contains optical brighteners (especially in highlight to mid-tone screen values where paper shade is a significant influencer of color ). sappi. aren’t so easily deceived. energy is present in the illuminant.. stimulated. The two standards complement each other as both mandate operating conditions that require close control of the U. Color management processes. content of the illuminant contained within the measuring instrument ). However. optically brightened paper/printed image as actually being bluer ( and bluer to varying degrees depending on the U. that can be used to accurately quantify spectral and colorimetric properties of color.V. © 2012 Sappi Fine Paper North America.” Spectrophotometers. the amount of U. and precise global color communication depend on accurate color measurement data. This creates quite a problem for color management systems since profiling software will typically compensate for the perceived “blueness” of paper and printed images by adding varying amounts of the complementary color—yellow. Imagine the practical consequences that can occur with variable stimulation of optical brighteners resulting in differing amounts of blue light reflecting back to the measurement device. i. To meet the graphic arts industry’s need for more precision in color measurement and communication methodologies.V. All Rights Reserved. energy emitted by the light source of the instrument ( i. the International Organization for Standardization revised the longstanding ISO 13566:1996 standard and established ISO 13655:2009 Graphic technology— Spectral measurement and colorimetric computation for graphics arts images.) variably affects the amount of blue light that fluoresces from the sample.

This measurement methodology complied with the “old” ISO standard and the vast majority of color measurement instruments currently used in the graphic arts industry utilize incandescent/tungsten illuminant technology. is not the optimal choice when spectral or colorimetric data must be exchanged when papers and applied colorants (e. One of the shortcomings of using measurement condition M0 is that it does not define or mandate control of the U. content tungsten illuminant. Measurement condition M0. toners.Printer Tech Tips The Color Measurement Standard for the Graphic Arts  (continued ) Measurement Condition M0 Until the recent advent of new LED illuminant technologies. coatings ) possess fluorescent properties. therefore. at a minimum. 2 2 ISO 3664:2009 is the international standard which specifies viewing conditions for critical color assessment.V.. the broad definition of the measurement condition M0 maintains the practicality of the commonly used “legacy” instruments in the graphic arts industry and protects the viability of historical data derived with a variable U. One requirement that ISO 13655:2009 makes to ensure the accuracy of M0 data exchange is to specify that. Measurement condition M0 supports the tungsten illumination technologies and maintains the validity of legacy colorimetric data. component and comply with the spectral distribution defined by CIE illuminant D50. Since most color measurement instruments in use around the world today align with M0. To summarize. When a color measurement is made with a tungsten/Illuminant A instrument. and coatings ). the M0 measurement condition will continue to be the industry’s de facto standard for some time. ISO 3664:2009 mandates that the light source contain a U. inks.g. instruments of like manufacturer and model must be used if shared data is to be deemed reliable. Sappi Printer Technical Service 877 SappiHelp ( 727 7443 ) Measurement Condition M1 The intent of measurement condition M1 is to provide consistency and accuracy in measurement data by stabilizing the effects of interaction between the illuminant and the fluorescing properties of the sample (due to optical brightening agents in the paper and/or fluorescence of applied inks. content. and standard published ICC profiles are based on data generated with measurement condition M0 equivalents.” we don’t necessarily know how much U. and current industry print standards.V. content of the illuminant. energy is being emitted by the illuminant. densitometers and spectrophotometers have used tungsten ( incandescent ) lamps that approximate the CIE standard illuminant © 2012 Sappi Fine Paper North America.. and to validate the relevance of the majority of color measurement devices currently in the field. sappi. reference data sets. ISO 13655:2009 has established the measurement condition M0. The M1 model provides correlation between measurement data and the visual assessment of color when viewed in conditions compliant with ISO 3664:2009.V. and is said to “include U.V. In order to provide consistency with this longstanding measurement system.V. All Rights Reserved. toners.V. The spectral power distributions of tungsten lamps can vary quite significantly with respect to U. 03 Version 001 .

content of the illuminant. the variability of the optical brightener content of the substrate ( and/or that of the applied inks. toners.. and coatings ). it is only applicable for color measurement of images printed with non-fluorescing colorants on OBA enhanced paper.” CIE illuminant D50 is defined in CIE 15-2004 and represents a theoretical phase of natural © 2012 Sappi Fine Paper North America. 3 Using an illuminant with a controlled spectral power distribution ( D50 ). M1-PART 2 ( A U. M1 definitely brings stability to the illuminant condition resulting in more reliable color measurement data and better inter-instrument agreement.e.e. Secondly.. Due to the necessity for a common industrywide standard. etc. toners. Although measurement condition M1 can’t help us with the first concern. an illuminant is a source of visible light with a defined spectral power distribution profile. M1-2 is not to be used for color measurement of images where inks.V. etc. energy. COMPENSATION METHODOLOGY ) M1-Part 2 allows a different path to M1 conformance—simulation of the effect of the D50 illumination condition by applying a compensation methodology to correct for the presence of fluorescence in the substrate.V. sappi.e. two methods to achieve conformance ): M1-PART 1 ( A FULL D50 APPROXIMATED MATCH ) Sappi Printer Technical Service 877 SappiHelp ( 727 7443 ) Measurement condition M1-1 requires that the illuminant emitted by the measuring instrument closely simulate the CIE standard illuminant D50. 04 Version 001 . All Rights Reserved. contain fluorescent properties. Measurement Condition M2 Measurement condition M2 specifies complete exclusion of U. M1-2 is used only for color measurements when the fluorescent properties of paper must be captured and compensated for. minimizes variations in measurement data caused by inconsistent stimulation of optical brighteners. the variability of the optical brightener stimulant—i. international committees have agreed that a source of illumination approximating natural daylight is the best choice. wavelengths may be accomplished through 3 In the literal sense.V. therefore. precludes the effects of fluorescence from the measurement data.. It is important to remember that two major sources of potential error come into play when color must be measured on optical brightener enhanced papers and applied colorants. Measurement condition M1-1 may be used for measurement of color when the paper and/or the applied colorants—i.V. inks. may contain any amount of optical brightening agents. Details as to the practical application of measurement condition M1-Part 2 are beyond the scope of this article. the U. First of all. Exclusion of the U. from the source illuminant and.Printer Tech Tips The Color Measurement Standard for the Graphic Arts  (continued ) There are actually two subsets of the measurement condition M1 ( i. containing a specified amount of U.V. New measurement instruments are being introduced to the graphic arts industry which support the M1-1 measurement model. toners. The International Commission on Illumination ( usually abbreviated CIE for its French name: Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage ) is one of the groups responsible for defining and publishing “standard illuminants.

.. etc. cut filter in the path of the illuminant. trapping. Polarization filtering removes surface reflections and reflections from wet ink films. 4 Self backing with multiple unprinted sheets of the specimen substrate is preferred in the paper and ink making industries. M3 = M2 + a polarization filter.) and densitometric (e. M2 is useful for measuring the color of non-fluorescing inks independent of the contributing effects of optical brightener enhanced papers. only standard black or white backing falls within the scope of ISO 13655:2009. Finally.V. the results of measurement conditions M0 and M2 will ideally be the same.g. CIE illuminant D50. CIE Lab. tungsten/CIE illuminant A. density. sappi.. the measurement condition must also be void of U.Printer Tech Tips The Color Measurement Standard for the Graphic Arts  (continued ) appropriate design of the source illuminant or by means of inserting a U.V. The 2° standard colorimetric observer is preferred because it more closely matches the conditions under which printed material is © 2012 Sappi Fine Paper North America. In essence. TVI. therefore creating less difference in measurement between wet and driedback ink. ISO 13655:2009 also includes standardization of other components of the spectral measurement and color computation methodology which include: —  S ample backing materials ( white. energy so as not to stimulate fluorescence. it should be noted that the four measurement conditions specified by ISO 13655:2009 may be used for both colorimetric (e. portion of the spectral power distribution is applied. M2 provides a test to ensure that regardless of the light source (e. M3 mandates that in addition to suppressing the effects of reflection. etc.g. CIE XYZ. CIE LCh.) functions.g. as defined by measurement condition M2. Sappi Printer Technical Service 877 SappiHelp ( 727 7443 ) Measurement Condition M3 Measurement condition M3 minimizes the effects of surface reflection by adding a polarization filter. etc. It should be noted that if the samples being measured do not contain optical brightening agents. All Rights Reserved.V. Other Considerations of ISO 13655:2009 In addition to specifying the four measurement condition choices. 05 Version 001 . colorimetric measurements shall be made at 10 nm intervals using the CIE illuminant D50.) appropriate suppression of the U. To 4 provide consistency with viewing conditions defined by ISO 3664:2009. black ) —  M easurement geometry (45°:0° or 0°:45° and other considerations ) —  M ethods for data reporting —  C olorimetric computation requirements and standard observer geometry. However.

it is essential that the measurement methodology is carefully chosen to suit the specific needs of the application. The provisions of the Standard may be used in the graphics industry for certain color monitoring. M3) — The specimen backing used (white. 5 ISO 13655:2009 is consistent with ISO5-3:2009 which specifies the standards for measuring densities. The choice of measurement conditions can result in very different data sets being produced for the same color sample. 5 It is. may not be used as a basis for establishing and communicating paper product specifications. however. measurement geometry: 45°:0° or 0°:45° ).. M2. trapping. Sappi Printer Technical Service 877 SappiHelp ( 727 7443 ) Communication of Measurement Data As color management and print production workflows become increasingly reliant on numeric color measurement data. 06 Version 001 .. ISO 13655:2009 is the international standard for spectral measurement and colorimetric computation for graphic arts printed images. TVI.Printer Tech Tips The Color Measurement Standard for the Graphic Arts  (continued ) Specification of Paper Properties As its title states. and color management applications including measurement of the white point of the print media (e. Paper specification protocol is defined in other ISO standards. When exchanging spectral and colorimetric data. when communicating the properties of color. M1.). sappi. it is important that the source of the data be accurately defined and communicated. etc. however.g. © 2012 Sappi Fine Paper North America. black ) — Measurement instrument brand and model When exchanging measurement data for comparison to established legacy targets and printing specification aim points. color control. and in order to provide optimal clarity of data communication. ISO 13655:2009 requires that a statement containing the following information accompany the measurement data: — A statement that measurements and computations are in conformance with the ISO 13655:2009 Standard — The measurement condition used ( M0. ISO 13655:2009. When specifying density and densitometric functions (density. All Rights Reserved. illuminant/standard observer: D50/2° or D65/10°. important to attach measurement condition information to the data along with the density status ( typically status T ).g. the M0 measurement condition is generally used. it is a best practice to provide additional measurement and color computation information (e. the printing paper ).

output of the illuminant ( specifically in the M1 measurement condition ) in similar manner as ISO 3664:2009 brings consistency of optical brightener stimulation to the viewing condition. ISO 13655:2009 brings consistency to the measurement condition by controlling the U. and exacting color communication when optical brightening agents are introduced into the workflow.g. is a precisely defined illuminant system that stimulates fluorescence in a consistently repeatable manner. All Rights Reserved. Therefore. As the measurement conditions specified in ISO 13655:2009 are implemented industry wide. The specification of measurement conditions has resulted in an emerging new generation of spectral measurement instrumentation that allows the industry to control processes and communicate the properties of color with unprecedented accuracy. accurate color rendition. new characterization data sets. As a service to our customers. Sappi Fine Paper North America provides CIE LAB data of paper white point targets upon request specified in both M0 and M1 measurement conditions. etc.V.V. © 2012 Sappi Fine Paper North America. The key to process control. and ICC color profiles (e. color that is properly and accurately viewed can also be accurately measured and specified. 07 Version 001 .. measurement condition M0 will continue to be the de facto standard in practice until new instruments become commonplace throughout the industry. system repeatability.Printer Tech Tips The Color Measurement Standard for the Graphic Arts  (continued ) Conclusion ISO 13655:2009 brings much needed clarity and standardization to the subject of spectral measurement and colorimetric computation in the graphic arts industry. As mentioned earlier. GRACoL. Sappi Printer Technical Service 877 SappiHelp ( 727 7443 ) Summary of the Measurement Conditions ME ASUREMENT CONDITION M0 — Uses a tungsten light source that approximates the CIE illuminant A — The U. content of the illuminant is neither defined nor controlled — Provides accommodation of most graphic arts color measurement instruments presently in the field — Currently the de facto measurement condition for the graphic arts industry and used to provide the measurement data for several common print specifications and reference print conditions — Potential for significant instrument-to-instrument variability ME ASUREMENT CONDITION M1 ( T WO PARTS ) Part 1 — Defines the spectral power distribution of the measurement device’s source illuminant –CIE illuminant D50 sappi.) will emerge and be integrated into process workflows. reference print specifications. © 2012 Sappi Fine Paper North America. 08 Version 001 .Dautrich@sappi. sappi. the effects of fluorescence from the measurement data ( also known as U. All Rights Reserved.. from the source illuminant and.V. cut ) — M2 is useful for measuring the spectral characteristics of non-fluorescing inks independent of the contributing effects of optical brightener enhanced papers ME ASUREMENT CONDITION M3 — Adds a polarization filter to the measurement condition M2 — Measurement condition M3 eliminates fluorescence and reduces the influences of surface reflection Reference ISO 13655:2009. Graphic technology – Spectral measurement and colorimetric computation for graphic arts images Other questions? Contact Dennis Dautrich at Dennis. M1-2 simulates the effect of a source illuminant with a spectral match to CIE D50 ) — Used to measure the effects of fluorescence in paper only ME ASUREMENT CONDITION M2 — Excludes U.V.Printer Tech Tips The Color Measurement Standard for the Graphic Arts  (continued ) — Used to measure the effects of fluorescence in both papers and inks/toners/ coatings Part 2 Sappi Printer Technical Service 877 SappiHelp ( 727 7443 ) — Uses a compensation methodology to correct for the effects of fluorescence of optical brighteners in the substrate ( i.